After missing nearly all of 2021, Washington Commanders WR Curtis Samuel looks to keep his hot start to the season rolling on Thursday Night Football as they take on the Chicago Bears. While Thursday games can be hit or miss in their offensive output, should fantasy football managers start Curtis Samuel against the Bears, or should you look for more stable options?
Curtis Samuel: A Great Story for Fantasy
After a breakout 2020 campaign where Curtis Samuel flashed his dual upside as a rusher and receiver, he failed to capture the same magic in 2021. After signing with the Commanders, Samuel spent the summer on the sidelines with a groin injury. That same injury lingered into the regular season as well.
In a “what have you done for me lately” game that is fantasy football, many managers stayed away from Samuel in drafts this past summer as his ADP plummeted to WR87 (259). Safe to say that might have been a bit of a mistake, as Samuel has been a massive playmaker all season for the Commanders.
He currently sits as the WR20 in points per game (15.2 PPR) and 16th overall, ahead of the other Samuel, whose first name is Deebo, and wears No. 19 for the 49ers (WR17). Samuel has accounted for 21.7% of the target share. In fact, Samuel has led the Commanders in targets each week with 11, 9, 10, 7, and 8 targets.
He is T-11th in targets (45), T-6th in receptions (32), 27th in yards (281), and has two touchdowns. Throw in his 51 yards on eight carries, and Samuel is putting together a complete season through five weeks.
While he is coming off a couple of down games (WR33 since Week 3), Samuel is one of my favorite players for not only Thursday Night Football but for Week 6 in general for fantasy.
Should Fantasy Managers Start Curtis Samuel?
While the answer might be apparent, let me give you some more info that might seal the deal on what you should start Samuel in fantasy on Thursday Night Football.
Sure, the game total is low at 37.5 O/U, which generally would push managers in other directions, but more is working in Samuel’s favor than against it. For one, Washington might be down a few receivers. Terry McLaurin is good to go, but Jahan Dotson and Dyami Brown might not be able to suit up.
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Dotson, one of my favorite rookies of this class, flashed early in the year but is dealing with a hamstring injury that kept him out of Week 5 and has held him out of practice this week. He has been ruled out for Week 6 as well.
In his place, Brown flourished last week, serving as the deep threat for Carson Wentz, who is QB 13 in our Week 6 QB fantasy rankings. And the duo could not have been more efficient.
Brown caught two of his four targets but turned those into 105 yards and two touchdowns. One went for 70 yards, and the other was a 35-yard score. Unfortunately, Brown is battling a groin injury and is listed as questionable for Thursday Night Football against the Bears.
Add in Logan Thomas, who is out with a calf injury, and Samuel’s target share will only increase. That’s where things get interesting, as his matchup is as good as it gets. Samuel will be a matchup nightmare against Kyler Gordon as he aligns in the slot on roughly 70% of his snaps.
Gordon is a player that teams are circling in pre-game planning as he’s faced the third-most target amongst slot corners. And there is a reason. He’s allowed an 81% catch rate and a 131.1 passer rating when targeted. On top of that, his 2.53 yards per route covered are the second-most in the league, not to mention his 11.0 yards per target.
Fantasy is all about matchups. Even in a game with a low total, Samuel is a smash spot for fantasy. Truth be told, I have a higher expectation for Samuel (WR26 in PFN’s Week 6 fantasy rankings) than I do for McLaurin (WR28).
Samuel squeezes everything he can out of each target and should have his hands busy on Thursday Night. Start Samuel as a high-end WR3 who should outperform expectations.
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